Overall: A third straight winning week in Batland; they remain in last, but have improved to four under .500. The Mudcats also had a winning week, although they gained no ground in the standings. A-ball is miles of struggles; Lynchburg remains in last place, and the Dragons dropped eight in a row- including four to last-place Bowling Green- before finally snapping the streak at the very end of the week.

AAA Louisville Bats

Record this week: 4-2.

Overall: 21-25, last place, 6.5 games behind Columbus (CLE).

5/20: Early game in Allentown against Lehigh Valley (PHI) saw middleman Chad Reineke get the start. He held his own, lasting five innings- throwing four scoreless after permitting a three-spot in the first (3.60, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR). Cody Ransom’s tenth homer was the source of those runs. The Bats had a 3-3 tie after five, getting one in the first on RF Wladimir Balentien’s sacrifice fly, another in the fourth on 1B Drew Sutton’s RBI single, and the equalizer an inning later on 3B Wilkin Castillo’s third home run of the season. Lefty Ben Jukich came on to retire the IronPigs in the sixth. C Corky Miller led off the seventh with a single and moved up on Castillo’s sacrifice bunt (littleball is JUST 2 SWEET). The badly-struggling Todd Frazier- who’d entered mid-game as a part of a double switch- lined a single, but Mike Griffin grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. LV got to Jukich in the seventh, scoring two to go up 5-3. SS Zach Cozart singled to start the sixth, but Yonder Alonso struck out and Balentien flew out. Sutton walked as Cozart swiped second base (#8). Pinch-hitter Chris Burke poked a base hit to score Cozart and make it 5-4, but Miller popped out. With two out and nobody on in the bottom of eight, though, the IronPigs struck- an E-5 on Castillo, a single, and a three-run homer at the expense of Federico Baez (2.12, 1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 0 ER) made it 8-4. Louisville went down 1-2-3 in the ninth, and that was it. Jukich took the loss (1-3, 5.63, 2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER).

5/21: Matt Maloney is finally getting restretched after spending his last several starts limited to 60-70 pitches. Here, he lasted six innings and 89 pitches (W 4-1, 2.72, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K) in Louisville’s 5-2 win. Jon Adkins (7.41), Logan Ondrusek (2.65, K) and Enerio Del Rosario (save #3, 1.46, 2 BB) each turned in a hitless inning to back Maloney up. Sutton slammed a first-inning three-run homer (#2). Miller was 3-for-4 (.326) and Balentien 2-for-3 with two doubles, two runs scored, a RBI and a walk (.250).

5/22: Sam Lecure fired a no-hitter for 7.1 innings against a pretty solid Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (NYY) lineup that included rehabbing big-leaguer Curtis Granderson and blue-chip prospect Jesus Montero! He ended up with a one-hit shutout on just 99 pitches (W 5-2, 2.55, 2 BB, 5 K), 5-0. Ex-Reds prospect Dustin Moseley took the loss for the Yankees. Four Bats collected a pair of hits apiece- Griffin (.273, 2B, RBI, R), Sutton (.256, R, steal #3, 11-for-31 over his last ten), 2B Chris Valaika (.322, R, 2B) and Castillo (.248, R, steal #2, RBI).

5/23: Todd Frazier socked homer #4 and Yonder Alonso picked up hits in his first two at-bats (.292)- the first an RBI knock- to propel the Bats to an early 3-0 lead over the Yankees. Travis Wood struck out the side in the first inning and got through a scoreless second, but allowed a run in the third before striking out Chad Huffman (the guy who broke up Lecure’s no-hitter from the night before) to escape a bases-loaded jam. In the bottom of the fourth Castillo (#4) and Frazier (#5) led off with back-to-back homers! This made it 5-1 Bats. Wood’s pitch count ran high the whole game, so he had to go after six (W 2-4, 4.15, 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 110 pitches/76 strikes). Jesus Delgado came on to work the seventh as well as the eighth (which he ended by inducing Montero to ground into a 6-3 double play). Jared Burton turned in a scoreless ninth. Cozart was also 2-for-4 with a pair of stolen bases (#11 and #12, .259).

5/24: SWB fights back, jumping on Logan Ondrusek for four runs in the eighth (BS #1, L 0-1, 4.50, 1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K) and coming from behind to take this one, 6-3. Ben Jukich started and lasted four (5.40, 4 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K) and Federico Baez chewed up three (1.80, 3 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 K). Griffin continued a strong stretch, doubling twice and singling in four trips (.300, R, BB). Burke was just 1-for-4 with a walk, but scored both times he was on and got a pair of steals as well (11). Frazier picked up a pair of singles and a RBI (.209).

5/25: Chad Reineke may just work his way into the Bats rotation. Stretched out in his last start, he fires seven shutout innings here in Louisville’s 3-1 win. Reineke moved to 2-3 (2.81, 3 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 91 pitches/65 strikes). Jesus Delgado gave up three hits and a ninth-inning run after a scoreless eighth (3.04, K) but Ondrusek came on to get the Yankees’ Jesus Montero to line into a game-ending double play (save #1, 4.34). Frazier hit his third homer in three games (#6) and Cozart homered as well (also #6).

5/26: Off. Aroldis Chapman starts Thursday 5/27 after missing a start with a blister.

Transactions and Notes: 5/24: LHR Joe Krebs added from Carolina. RHR Enerio Del Rosario called up by Cincinnati. 5/26: RHS Matt Klinker promoted to Louisville. UT Drew Sutton called up by Cincinnati to temporarily replace Paul Janish (bereavement list).

LHS Travis Wood drew an “In the Team Photo” mention on the BA Prospect Hot Sheet for 5/21 for his eight-inning, eleven-strikeout, two-hit outing. Todd Frazier, unfortunately, made the Not-So-Hot list.

Sam Lecure was named IL Pitcher of the Week for 5/17-5/23, going 2-0 with no earned runs allowed in 16 innings. Here’s a detailed article from Milb.com.

Also, according to a quote from manager Rick Sweet in the Louisville Courier-Journal, RHS Justin Lehr may have to have season-ending elbow surgery. It’s hard not to see that stemming from Lehr’s heavy workload in 2009 between AAA, the big leagues, and winter ball.

Baltimore chose to dance with the devil by purchasing the contract of OF Corey Patterson. Milwaukee signed OF Josh Anderson, a week or so after he was released by the Reds. San Diego bought the contract of OF Chris Denorfia.

AA Carolina Mudcats

Record this week: 4-2.

Overall: 22-24, fourth place, six back of Tennessee (CHC).

5/20: The Mudcats survived three errors to beat Chattanooga (LAD), 6-4. Alex Smit looked much better than he did earlier in the year (W 1-2, 8.69, 5 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K). Phil Valiquette got save #4 (4.26, 1 IP, 1 BB). CF Dave Sappelt was 2-for-3 with a triple (.369, RBI, BB, steal #6) and both SS Kris Negron and RF Denis Phipps were 2-for-4. Only two of Carolina’s six runs were earned.

5/21: Ace Matt Klinker fired seven innings of five hit-ball (W 4-3, 1.63, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 7 K) and Jordan Smith (save #6, 0.2 IP, 1 BB, 1 K) came on to bail out a wild Jerry Gil (4.57, 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 1 K) in the ninth. Carolina beats Chattanooga and former Reds prospect-turned-journeyman John Koronka, 6-3. 2B Jake Kahauleilo was 2-for-4 with two RBI (.292) and Sappelt drove in a pair as well. The Mudcats got six runs out of just five hits (and no homers).

5/22: The Lookouts took a four-run lead- three unearned- after five innings off the just-called-up Scott Carroll (L 0-1, 1.80, 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 85 pitches/58 strikes). Carolina got single runs in each of the seventh, eighth, and ninth, but they fell just short and lost it 4-3. Phipps homered in the ninth (#1).

5/23: Tom Cochran fired five shutout innings to start, while his teammates got on the board when 2B Jose Castro singled in Sappelt (who’d singled and stolen his seventh base) in the bottom of the fourth. The Mudcats loaded the bases in the sixth on walks to 1B Mike Costanzo and C Brandon Yarbrough and a single by Sappelt. Castro came up and scratched an infield hit to third, scoring the second Carolina run. Sean Henry pinch-hit for Cochran (2.72, 5 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 3 K) but he lined back to the pitcher. Negron was called out on strikes to end the inning. Ruben Medina came on for the sixth, but quickly showed his control problems (19 BB in 24 IP) by walking the bases full with nobody out. He came back to get a double-play grounder, which scored one, then a grounder to short to end the inning. Phipps singled in Eric Eymann in the seventh to make it 3-1 and Costanzo doubled Eymann home in the ninth for another insurance run. But the Lookouts came back for five in the ninth to win 6-4 in a mirror image to the parent club’s ninth-inning collapse against Atlanta:

Chattanooga Bottom 9th
-Jaime Pedroza singles on a ground ball to third baseman Eric Eymann.
-With Elian Herrera batting, throwing error by Brandon Yarbrough on the pickoff attempt, Jaime Pedroza to 2nd.
-Elian Herrera singles on a line drive to center fielder Dave Sappelt. Jaime Pedroza to 3rd.
-Offensive Substitution: Pinch hitter Dustin Yount replaces Kenley Jansen.
-Dustin Yount singles on a line drive to center fielder Dave Sappelt. Jaime Pedroza scores. Elian Herrera out at 3rd on the throw, center fielder Dave Sappelt to third baseman Eric Eymann.
-Dee Gordon walks. Dustin Yount to 2nd.
-Defensive switch from third base to first base for Eric Eymann.
-Pitcher Change: Jordan Smith replaces Philippe Valiquette, batting 4th.
-Defensive Substitution: Jake Kahaulelio replaces pitcher Philippe Valiquette, batting 9th, playing third base.
-Coaching visit to mound.
-Trayvon Robinson walks. Dustin Yount to 3rd. Dee Gordon to 2nd.
-Corey Smith hits a grand slam (5) to left field. Dustin Yount scores. Dee Gordon scores. Trayvon Robinson scores.

Phil Valiquette (5.31, 1.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER) has struggled in May (9.58 ERA) after a great April (0.90). He does, however, hit 100 on the radar gun. Smith fell to 1-3 as his closing difficulties continue (6.87, BS #2, L 1-3, 1 H, 2 ER, 1 BB). Phipps finished 3-for-5 (.255).

5/24: Carolina fell behind early, as starter Dallas Buck was chased in the first inning (6.41, 0.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER) after straining his oblique (see below) and Chattanooga built a 5-0 lead after two. But the Mudcats roared back late, scoring in each of the final four innings to take a hard-fought 9-7 win! Jeremy Horst pitched 3.1 in relief of Buck (1.86, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K) and Jerry Gil added three for the win (3-1, 4.38, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 0 K). Jordan Smith gave up another homer in his outing, but did notch the two-inning save (#7, 6.64, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Mike Costanzo hit his first Mudcats homer and drew three walks (.240), Eric Eymann added #4, and Jake Kahauleilo hit a key two-run bomb in the eighth (#5). Sappelt drove in four runs with two doubles and a triple (.378, steal #8). Henry was 2-for-3 (.321) with two walks and two stolen bases (6). Carolina takes this series, three games to two.

5/25: Off.

5/26: Travis Webb was wild (6 BB) but allowed only two hits over five innings as Carolina beat West Tenn (SEA), 6-2. Kahauleilo continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-5 with a double, run scored, and two RBI (.297). RF Sean Danielson hit a two-run homer (#1) and a single. Negron reached base three of four trips and stole two bases (15, .256). Lee Tabor, Ruben Medina, and Phil Valiquette combined to give up just one run over the final four innings.

Transactions and Notes: 5/24: LHR Joe Krebs promoted to Louisville. 5/26: RHS Dallas Buck placed on the 7-day DL with an oblique strain. LHR Lee Tabor activated from the DL. LHS Matt Fairel promoted from Lynchburg. LHR Daryl Harang added from Lynchburg. RHS Matt Klinker up to Louisville.

High-A Lynchburg Hillcats

Record this week: 2-4.

Overall: 18-28, last place, 9.5 behind Frederick (BAL).

5/20: The Hillcats rebound after a terrible 1-6 week by firing on all cylinders, both offensive and defensive. Matt Fairel went seven strong (W 4-1, 3.47, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) and was backed up by Jordan Hotchkiss’ two scoreless (0.83, 1 H, 2 K). The offense produced nine runs on fifteen hits, paced by 3B Alex Buchholz’ three RBI (2-for-4, R, 2B, .284), 2B Jose Gualdron’s three hits (.298, RBI, 2B), DH Neftali Soto’s three runs scored (2-for-3, 2B, .277) and CF (!) Cody Puckett’s fifth home run. C Devin Mesoraco had just one hit in five trips, but that double chased home two runs.

5/21: Righty James Avery, out much of last season and all of this one to date, returned to the mound- but things didn’t go well for him or the still-struggling Hillcats defense (L 0-1, 4 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR). On came Drew Bowman to allow five straight batters to reach, all of whom later scored. Catcher Jordan Wideman ended up pitching a 1-2-3 ninth in Winston-Salem (CHW)’s 13-3 rout. Mesoraco did go 3-for-4 with a double and run scored from the DH slot (.336) and Buchholz also had three hits (.297, R, RBI, 15-for-33 and a nine-game hitting streak). The just-promoted Efrain Contreras started in CF and went 2-for-3 with a run scored and walk.

5/22: The Dash administer another beating, 11-3. Lance Janke didn’t fool many (L 1-4, 6.39, 3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3 HR) and Daryl Harang continued his struggles (12.46, 2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 2 HR). Mesoraco hit a two-run homer (#9), RF Josh Fellhauer collected three doubles (.299, R, RBI) and 2B Cody Puckett had three hits and a homer (#6, .284).

5/23: Brad Boxberger, struggling a bit after a fast start, did the same here- six Ks and just one run through three, but Winston-Salem got to him for four in the fourth. (Jordan Hotchkiss came on with two in and two on- and let them score.) Boxberger lasted 3.2 (L 3-4, 3.70, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). Dash led 7-1 after five innings as the struggling reliever gave up a pair of solo homers in the fifth. DH Neftali Soto hit a two-run homer in the sixth (#6, 2-for-4, 2 R, 2B, .280) to cut it to 7-3. Curtis Partch came on in relief, interestingly, and pitched a scoreless final three innings (3.53, 1 H, 1 BB, 4 K). Lynchburg couldn’t get any closer, though, and lost for the 12th time in fifteen games.

5/24: Off.

5/25: Fairel played stopper again with seven shutout innings (W 5-1, 3.04, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K) as Lynchburg survived 12 Ks from Myrtle Beach (ATL) starter Randall Delgado to scratch a 1-0 win. Sean Watson pitched the eighth and Justin Freeman the ninth (save #4, 5.60). Soto doubled home Puckett in the first for what would turn out to be the game’s only run.

5/26: Braves phenom Julio Teheran outdueled Mark Serrano (L 2-2, 3.24, 7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR) in his second Carolina League outing, 2-1. 2B Jose Gualdron had a pair of doubles and scored the only Hillcats run on a passed ball (.313, steal #1). Buchholz went 2-for-3 (.288).

Transactions and Notes: 5/20: OF Byron Wiley was released abruptly. Sure, he was hitting .205 in 13 games, but there had to have been something else going on- the guy had tools and a strong 2009 in Dayton under his belt. RHS James Avery activated; RHS Scott Carroll promoted to Carolina. 5/21: OF Efrain Contreras was promoted from Dayton. 5/26: LHS Matt Fairel promoted to Carolina. LHR Daryl Harang returned to the Mudcats as well.

Low-A Dayton Dragons

Record this week: 1-7.

Overall: 19-29, fifth place, 13 games behind Lake County (CLE).

5/20: Lansing (TOR) sweeps the series, 3-2. Justin Walker pitched better this time (L 1-5, 6.28, 6 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR) and Chase Ware pitched three scoreless in relief (1.95, 3 H, 4 K) but the Dragons were held to six hits and zero walks. Two of those hits came from RF Josh Garton (.288, R, 2B). C Kevin Coddington tripled in a run (.247) as did SS Didi Gregorius (.258).

5/21: Jake Johnson fell to 0-4 (5.79, 4 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR) as Bowling Green took game one of this three-game series at Fifth Third, 6-2. Ezequiel Infante pitched three strong in relief, striking out six (2.74, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER). Dayton went 0-for-8 with men in scoring position, with only RF Josh Garton (2-for-4, .304) collecting multiple hits.

5/22: The lowly Hot Rods- who entered the game last in their division at 13-27- swept a doubleheader from the Dragons, 10-7 and 5-2. Doug Salinas (L 2-2, 2.38, 1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER) took the loss in relief of Tim Crabbe (4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 3 ER) in game one, while Pedro Villareal (L 2-3, 3.21, 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) was a victim of a pair of costly errors in the nightcap. C Mark Fleury, whose catcher’s interference was one of those, did hit a solo homer (#2) and go 2-for-3 (.208). Frank Pfister picked up four hits between both games, three in the first (homer #2, .281). Kevin Coddington hit homer #3 in game one. LF Cameron Satterwhite, activated when Efrain Contreras was promoted, had three hits in eight at-bats.

5/23: Bowling Green has Dayton’s number. They take game two of the series at Fifth Third, 6-4. Six straight losses for Dayton. JC Sulbaran started and lost (L 3-3, 5.00, 5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K). Garton was 2-for-4 with a solo homer (#5, .304). Satterwhite added a pair of hits; he’s now 5-for-12.

5/24: Seven straight, as the Hot Rods sweep it 5-0. Ravin started and lost (L 2-4, 3.61, 6 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, WP, HB). Chase Ware retired nine straight late (1.78, 4 K). Rodriguez got two hits (.258). Bowling Green also leapfrogged the Dragons in the standings after taking these four straight games.

5/25: Eight straight. Lake County got just three hits off Dragons pitching, but they dented the plate and Dayton (seven hits) couldn’t. Tough 1-0 loss for Justin Walker (L 1-6, 5.51, 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) who had his best start of the season.

5/26: DRAGONS WIN! Jake Johnson got his first Midwest League win with five solid innings (W 1-4, 5.31, 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K), newly activated Ricky Bowen fired 2.2 scoreless in relief (2 H, 4 K), and Donnie Joseph set down four of the final five for save #6 (0.66) in Dayton’s 5-3 triumph. Gregorius pounded a homer (#2) and a triple (#5), 1B Tommy Nurre was 3-for-4 with a RBI (.289), and Fleury hit homer #3.

Transactions and Notes: 5/21: OF Efrain Contreras promoted to Lynchburg; OF Cam Satterwhite activated. C Chase Weems also activated. OF Sean Conner placed on the 7-day DL. 5/22: RHS Tim Crabbe added from Billings, with RHS Jake Johnson assigned temporarily to Billings. 5/25: Johnson is reactivated and Crabbe reassigned to Billings. RHR Ricky Bowen activated. 5/26: 1B Chris Richburg placed on the 7-day DL.